It all began with a conversation with Cheryl Baker at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference. I had signed up for a class that began on December 1 but I had heard nothing about it. The next day I got a message from Jeff Utecht...the course would be based out of Bangkok. Amazing!
Then came the ice storms. No power...no internet for days. Brutal.
Finally, I engaged in a first-time Skype conversation with someone half way around the globe (picture perfect video) and then had a phone conversation with Kim. Both were extremely supportive.
I was excited about this class. Wikis, podcasts, blogs...I knew what they were but had never created/used them. Not only was this class going to allow me to reach the top of my pay scale; it was the class that was going to be the glue of Web 2.0 tools. I was going to have to use the tools this time around and not just hear about them. I was excited.
There were many positives of this course. First of all, online coursework allows for such flexibility. I would often find myself working in the middle of the night. No need to spend time/$ going to PSU. In addition, I set up my very own PLN (it took a couple tries but it's working great now).
I found the required reading assignments to be very appropriate and they served as springboards to additional information and reflection. It was great that so much time was spent on reading, writing (26 blog posts!), and creating. I feel much better equipped to use web 2.0 tools in my classroom and school.
Before writing my blog entries, I would take time to reflect. I would sometimes find myself with conflicting views. What did I really think? The line would be blurry at times. Blogging is a wonderful way to share thoughts.
I would highly recommend this class to others. Jeff, your Thinking Stick blog provided a wealth of information and insight on the future of education. And Kim, it was obvious how much work you put into making the T & L wiki up-to-date and your encouragement was so welcome. You are a great team.
Since this class started, I have an iGoogle page, a Tech Mentoring wiki for a class I'm teaching, have gotten the 8th grade teachers to design a project (War of 1812) with students creating wikis, have the 5th grade teachers planning to have their students create podcasts on current events, and the 6th grade students are blogging. Now I look forward to doing more with project-based learning.
Thank you everyone for this opportunity to glue all the pieces of teaching and learning in a networked classroom together. You have all contributed so positively to my learning experience.